MAHOPAC, N.Y. - The coronavirus pandemic has not slowed down the Airport Park project, with Phase 2 wrapped up and Phase 3 underway.
The $2.2 million project will feature five fields for soccer and lacrosse, bleachers, a playground, a support building with bathrooms, concession and a meeting room, as well as fencing, upgraded driveway and parking lot and improved hiking trails.
Though officials had hoped to complete Phase 2, which focused the construction and seeding of the fields, along with the installation of irrigation systems, it had to be shut down for the winter and be completed this spring. Nonetheless, the project remains on target, with the fields being ready for play this fall.
Phase 3 will include the construction of fencing, the placement of goals and other equipment, the construction of the playground, and the concession/meeting room building. It will also include sending out bids or requests for proposals (RFPs) for the needed utilities in the park, including sewer, water and electricity.
At the Town Board’s June 10 meeting, Jim Gilchrist, director of recreation & parks, told the board that while Phase 2 is complete, it had a cost overrun of $5,200. It had originally been budgeted that U.S. Pitch Care—the company tasked with building the fields—would take 12 weeks to complete the job, but it took 22 weeks.
“This is the first time it’s happened working with Insight Engineering (the town’s construction manager). They’ve always come in under the budgeted numbers,” Gilchrist told the board. “This is such a large project and there were a lot of loose ends out there that had to be dealt with. We are currently working on Phase 3, which will be on budget. Phase 1 was on budget.
Phase 2 was the biggest phase of the whole project.”
Gilchrist said the extra $5,200 will come out of the Airport Park project’s budget.
“We have the funds that will cover this,” he said. “We are going to try and tighten up on Phase 3 a little bit to see if we can save some money there and offset this a little bit.”
Supervisor Ken Schmitt said that he understood that these things can happen on such large projects but urged Gilchrist to have Insite Engineering give them a heads-up if they think something is going over budget.
“What Insite should do in the future if they see they are going over in hours, is they should make you aware of that as soon as they hit that threshold,” he said. “Just give you a heads-up and say, ‘Do you want us to move forward?’”
Gilchrist said U.S. Pitch Care had been “as efficient” as Insite had anticipated they would be.
“There were weather issues,” Gilchrist said. “We thought the project would be completed by the fall, but it had to be carried over to the spring.”
Gilchrist said he’s also accepted bids on soccer and lacrosse equipment for the field. They will purchase soccer goals, benches and bleachers from Soccer Source for $26,374 and five lacrosse goals from BSN Sports for $2,749.
“We are buying right from the manufacturer and saving a significant amount of money,” Gilchrist said. “We have $50,000 in the budget for athletic equipment. We still have some other items that need to be purchased. We still have about $20,000 left.”
Gilchrist said he still anticipates the fields will be ready for play this fall.
“We will see how it works out; we don’t want to rush it,” he told the board. “There is still construction. We have a playground we need to install and a building. We want to get that done before the kids are in the park. We don’t want to have active construction going on with kids there.”
Gilchrist said the construction of the outbuilding, which was donated by Mahopac Sports Association, is well underway.
“The building is getting there, the footings are in… the gravel is in place,” he said. “They are working on the plumbing right now. Little by little it’s coming along.”
In other recreation news, Gilchrist reported that Sycamore Park beach is opening, and social distancing areas are marked out on the sand and staff has been trained and is ready.
“It will be a challenge,” he said.
Gilchrist said that the concert series planned each year for Chamber Park and the Fourth of July concert in Red Mills Park are both on. The bands for Chamber Park have been booked.
If everything goes as planned, the town will enter Phase 3 on June 26, which will allow for crowds of 150 or fewer, which allow the shows to take place. Gilchrist said social-distancing markers will be laid out on the grounds at Chamber Park.